Monthly Archives: July 2014

Forum Overgrowth – Top 3 Symptoms

This article was first posted on our blog on 26/04/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


Overgrowth of a forum is one of the most off putting features for forums.

I personally experienced it about 6 months back when I have around a 3:1 of topics:posts, meaning that my boards were extremely cluttered and I eventually got so overwhelmed with it that I had to close it.

What is overgrowth?

Overgrowth is the process in which a forum literally out grows itself. It becomes like a garden full of weeds, uncared for and unappreciated. You can see many free forums hosts still hosting forums which have over 1000+ of pure spam, and that is the resultant factor of it.

1. Flux in activity

A flux (or fluxuation) is a dramatic rise in something, in this case, it is a dramatic rise in registrations to your board. It’s a wonderful feeling going to bed and have ~100 members, and then waking up and having ~250, but then you realize they are all “no-posters” and have links plastered all over their profile.

This is one of the first signs of a wave of incoming spam (for those technically minded, bots use an inlink: tag in google search terms and hunt down phpBB backlinks via that). The way to stop this (whilst it’s happening or before hand) is to add in anti-spam measures.

PhpBB seems to be slacking with the anti-spam, but IPB and vB have extremely good measures. I suggest looking into paid forum software (if you haven’t already) to begin building a better future for your forum.

2. Unregistered users with no posts

Whilst working amongst SEO experts, I know that forum profiles are a great way to build backlinks for free. There are several pieces of Blackhat SEO softwares that offers this, so watch out!

Not everybody who registers on a forum will post, genuine or not. But there are a few things to look out for:

– Random profile details and a profile link with no posts.
– Strange location and no traffic stats showing this incoming member.

Deleting these accounts may be the right way to go, as it’s often seen that a forum with 1000’s of members but only a few posts are regarded as spam.

Not just email activation will deter this, you need to have STRONG anti spam settings and email activation in place.

3. Deleting topics to a recycle bin

Got a recycle bin? We all do. No not in your bedroom, I meant in the private section on your forum! Silly billy.

Some MODs for forums will make it that all the links in a Trash Can will be essentially deactivated, but some do not.

When you get a forum post in the wrong section full of links and typically in the wrong language, don’t just delete it!

– Move the post to the trash can,
– Follow it and edit the post of all links,
– Leave a notification for your other staff members in the thread that you’ve removed the links.

This will mean that spammers will not rank higher than you in search engines, and your forum will be kept squeaky clean!

Getting the Most from Promotion Forums

There are many great services and features offered within the most popular promotion and webmaster forums. More often than not, members have options ranging from reviews, packages, signature ads, and other advertisement on the board. However, these are not the services you should be putting to work! Promotion forums give many under appreciated services that actually help you more than popular features.

Social Media Advertisements
Social Media ads such as Tweets or Facebook posts are one of the most commonly glanced over features of a promotion forum. Why? Because most people rationalize that no one is actually going to read the tweet, therefore, why spend the money on a hundred and forty characters?

The trick behind social media advertisements is not for the visitors, but for the search engines. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing have spiders all over social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Whenever there is a tweet containing a link, they automatically follow the link and index the contents. What that means is: the more you tweet (given reasonable space, of course) the more search engines like index your site, providing you better SEO. So, the magic isn’t in the new members from social media advertisements, it’s in the search engines!

Exchanges
Many people look at exchanges as a way to get temporary post increases or members by exchanging forum currency or the same service back to another individual. However, if used correctly, exchanges can benefit your website more than any other feature available. There are many different types of exchanges that go on within promotion forums. Member exchanges, “I’ll post on your forum if you post on mine,” and “Five [posts] for Five!” exchanges happen all of the time, and are almost useless (notice I say almost; there are times where they can be beneficial).

The most useful exchanges happen when two web masters exchange ad space, links, or participate in projects such as banner jumbles. Each of these yield free advertisement to hundreds of people, and all it costs is for you to return the favor! Remember back to the first point I made about search engines indexing your site when there is a tweet or Facebook ad? Well the same happens when your banner or link is on another webmaster’s site and they get indexed! You get even more search engine exposure through simple exchanges such as these!

Community Support
The last most valuable resource a promotion forum can offer is an extensive community of webmasters, all with the same goal as you: to better their forum. These are also webmasters that may be more experienced than you that can offer support and feedback. Many communities have boards that allow technical support questions, peer-to-peer reviews, and other boards based around managing your site. Spending time in any of these boards, just reading what others have to say, can be valuable to the development of your personal forum.

In the end, many promotion forums can offer services such as packages and reviews, but those services may not help you and your board as much as you think. Instead, invaluable resources such as social media advertisements, exchanges, and community support can have a massive impact on your forum, if you use them correctly.

Traffic Exchanges – Good or Bad?

This article was first posted on our blog on 09/06/2009. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


After reading this topic on the forum, it has made me think about how well it works for forums.

I have used many traffic exchanges over the years to promote many things. I have used them to promote forums and overall the results have been poor in my time using them. When browsing one of them and if you actually look at the sites you will notice that they are all mainly 1 type of sites being promoted. They are money making sites. Whether they are sites selling “make $1,000,000 in 24 hours” books or just Pay To Click (PTC) sites, they are all similar types of sites. People mainly use them to promote affiliate links in order to allow them to make money and build their downlines. People also use them to promote other traffic exchanges, as it is a good promotion technique. If people are using 1 traffic exchange they would be interested in other potentially better ones. That is similar to the people surfing. They mostly all share an interest of making money on the internet. That means that they like looking for other ways to make money. I personally have got quite a few referrals from traffic exchanges for PTC sites that I am part of.

Now on to the forum part. Because of the people that use these type of sites, you won’t get good results really when promoting forums using them. Yes you may get a few members over a long period of time, but for the effort it is not really worth it. There are alot of better ways to promote your forum and get much better results. Overall, it is not a good way to promote forums, although it can be good if you are part of any site where you make money. One way to judge if a promotional method is good is to look around and look at what types of people visit and what they would be interested in mostly. If it doesn’t match what you are promoting, then it might not be worthwhile to use or spend too much time using.

Hope this helps. Feel free to comment below!

Questions to Ask Before Adding a Virtual Currency

A lot of forums these days offer some form of virtual currency when posting, but many of these forums don’t even put the currency to good use. It usually just ends up as another statistic to brag to your mates about.

In reality, not every forum needs a virtual currency, and just because you see another forum have a currency doesn’t mean you will be at a disadvantage if you do not have one. Still, if you are considering adding a forum currency to your community, then ask yourself the questions below before making your final decision.

1. How Will You Give it Value?

Before adding a currency to your community, you need to figure out how you’re going to give it value. Forum currencies are meant to encourage people to be more active, but it will not work if you have nothing that your currency can offer in return.

There are many ways that you can give a currency value. You can offer services, products, special privileges, or you can just give it the same value as a real currency.

2. How Will You Keep It Valuable?

Just like any other currency, a virtual currency can also reach a point of inflation where it’s just not worth as much as it used to be. While offering services, products, and other things will keep some currency out of circulation it doesn’t stop users from making more. So, after a while there are going to be users who have a LOT of your currency. You are going to have to find ways to keep the currency flowing, as well as keeping the amount of forum currency in circulation low.

One of the best ways I’ve seen of getting a bunch of currency “out of the public” is by having auctions based on real items. Forum Promotion has been doing this for a bit now, and I’m starting to see the funds of “rich” users decrease.

3. Will Users Actually Use It?

It’s always good to question your users before implementing a feature that could forever be tied to the community. So, before adding a forum currency I would definitely question your users to see how they respond to the idea. See how many would actually use the forum currency to buy certain services and products. This is also the perfect time to let them suggest a few services or products that they would like to have available for purchase!

Obviously you’re going to have to use your own judgement, but finding out if people are going to use it before hand is far better than having to uninstall it later because no one touched it.

Conclusion

So, those are the questions I think you should ask yourself before adding a virtual currency. Not every forum needs one, and maybe you are one of those forums. Still, I’m just a dude sharing his opinion online, so feel free to do whatever you want to do.

So, how do you feel about forum currencies, and if you have one then how did you give it value?

Coding Program for Beginners

I have noticed, over the past several months, that more and more people are getting into website design and coding. While noticing this, new coders have been attempting to use programs like Dreamweaver to begin their coding journey. This is an absolute NO no. Dreamweaver is a product made by adobe. It has not yet been updated to handle HTML5 or CSS3 completely and will produce errors, that other editors usually will not produce.

I recommend one product for all beginner’s who are learning to code. That product is Sublime Text 2. Sublime Text 2 is a text editor, a lot like notepad ++ but with a lot more options. You can do all of your coding from within the program. Another major plus side to using Sublime Text 2, is that you can load an entire site into the program from your computer. For example: I am working on a pre-made website name Site 1. The file contains the following folders; css, images, and javascript. Sublime Text 2 can open the folder Site 1, and all of it’s contents into the program so that you can easily edit each file in a separate tab within the same window.

To view your coding work, simply open the containing folder, select the page you wish to view in the browser and then open the page in the browser that you wish to preview it in. It is recommended that you leave that browser/window tab open so that you can refresh as you save your code.

Another thing that has me recommending Sublime Text 2, is the fact that you can select different skins for the program to make it easier to see the errors in your coding. Using these skins allows you to catch the missed colons and semi-colons much easier that most other text editors or programming utilities.

Below I have included a screenshot of what Sublime Text 2 looks like. You can download it for free at http://sublimetext.com/2

sublime text 2 preview

Four Ways to Make Money Other than Ads

Owning a community can be a pretty fun experience, but you can’t do it without revenue. Revenue can come from all kinds of places, but most people decide to stick with just ads and premium subscriptions. While this does well for some, others may find that what they are making from ads just isn’t enough and that they need more. Well, here is four ways to earn some additional revenue from your forum!

1. Affiliate Programs

If advertisements aren’t working for you then you may need to start looking for a couple affiliate programs.

What are affiliate programs?

Affiliate programs are sales arrangements where a company offers website owners payment in exchange for bringing in customers.

I find these to sometimes work better than advertisements because you get to pick products you trust and want to promote. Also, since the products you promote are very niche specific there is more of a chance for your user to be interested.

While adsense can do a great job of narrowing down interests, most of the ads still manage to be things users aren’t interested in. With affiliate programs, you get to pick the products you like, and know your users will like.

There are many affiliate programs out there, and even your web host has one. Most companies have an affiliate program, so just look around and see what you would like to promote on your forum.

2. Sell Your Own Product

If you’re not into selling other people’s products, then why not sell your own?

Manufacturing is pretty cheap these days, and it’s not hard to get shirts, pens, and all sorts of other goods made. If you don’t want to make physically goods, then you can still write an ebook and sell that.

Obviously different forums have to do different things, but I know every niche has some sort of product that can be sold.

If you already have a forum with 200 members, then why not pitch them a product?

3. Sell Services

If you own a relatively large forum, then you can use that to your advantage to sell consulting services, or maybe even your writing skills. Depending on the niche there are different services you can sell.

Be creative, and try selling any service you think someone might be interested in.

4. Sell Special Colors, Ribbons and Forum Functions

Most of you probably have a premium membership available on your forum, but why not try something different? Every forum has a premium membership available and most of them suck!

So instead of selling a premium membership at a monthly rate, why not let users build their own membership of sorts. Have different colors, ribbons, sections, and forum functions available for purchase every month.

This way each user gets a different look, and a different membership setup; making memberships unique and more exclusive. It also makes you look a bit more creative than you just trying to sell a normal premium membership!

Conclusion

If you’re struggling to make ends meet with just ads, then try out of some of the revenue making methods above. Almost everyone can try the methods above, so don’t hold back. So, do you know of any other ways to earn some revenue?

Worst Things To Do When Promoting a New Forum

This article was first posted on our blog on 02/04/2009. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


One of the worst things you can do when promoting a new forum is to promote it when it is not completed. This is something that I have seen here alot on Forum Promotion, as well as other promotion forums, where people advertise unfinished forums and wonder why they aren’t getting members.

Before promoting you new forum, always check the following things:

1) Have I set up all the forums I want on the forum?
Do I have a wide range of forums covering different subjects about the forums’ topic and also in forums where you are able to discuss off topic subjects such as a sports forum, media forum and an anything goes area?

2) Have I set up the rules for the forum?
When members sign up, will they be able to locate and know what they can and can’t post?

3) Have I configured all the settings and permissions correctly?
Set up a test account to check the members forum permissions. Can you see what you want them to see, and can you not see what you don’t want them to see? Additionally have you set up all the settings like the avatar, registration and signature settings?

4) Have I chosen a good style to match my forum, and do I have a matching logo?
One of the biggest mistakes people make is sticking with the default style. I think it is better not to use the default styles of any forum software, as they are overused a lot and are quite plain. Additionally it doesn’t show that you care too much, and it makes your forum look “new” and unfinished. Same goes for a forum logo. Always have a decent logo for when you start promoting. Ensure it matches the style, is not fuzzy and is not too big or too small.

5) Have I started any topics to get some discussion going?
This is another mistake a large number of people make. Never promote a forum with no posts and topics as no one will join because of it. Go around your forum and start a few topics to encourage people to sign up and post. Also, if you can get a friend to sign up to help get some posts on the forum, that would be good. The less empty it looks when it comes to the time you promote, the more of a chance there will be more members signing up.

6) Ensure that guests can see most if not all the forums.
Don’t hide all the forums thinking it will encourage people to sign up. It doesn’t work like that, this will cause most people to just move on to another forum.

7) Lastly and most importantly, have something unique.
You need to give people a reason to join your forum over other more established ones. If you have something that is really different from all the other forums, you will stand out and it will help you get more members when you start promoting.

If you follow the above points, it should help your forum when promoting, it will make it alot more interesting and there will be more chance of people signing up. They are all simple small things but to do them, will make a big difference in the world.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment.

Easy Ways to Earn a Penalty

One of the best ways to know what to do in life is to first learn what not to do. If you think about it, the reason for personal growth is through our failures, mistakes and mishaps along the way. It’s very easy to struggle and be tempted to follow that inner voice telling us maybe this wasn’t what we were meant to do but trust us, Google penalties definitely aren’t the end of the world. They can actually turn into a positive experience. However we understand the last thing anyone wants to do is slip and fall unnecessarily. So, here are a few of the main reasons peoples’ websites get negative attention from Google. This should help you stay one step ahead of the game and keep your eyes on the finish line, instead of finding yourself stuck back at square one trying to rebuild the mess you’ve made.

Spam is a No-No and Faking it is a No-Go

Search engines are adamant; they don’t want spam to be a part of their representation. Often times, newcomers to the online world may think they are simply promoting but there is a fine line between showing off what you’ve got and over sharing. Not only should you be cautious where you discuss your website (signing up for every forum and blog you can find and posting a link to your site is probably going to annoy people rather than grab their attention), but you should also consider how you wrap your gifts before sending them out into the cyberspace.

Your content is your gift to the world. Create interesting, to the point, unique titles and keywords without cramming the page full of too much information. Search engines don’t like when you try this hard and it doesn’t leave the best taste in your visitor’s mouths either. The same can be said about purchasing links or trading with just about anyone – low quality promotion will get you low quality results, no matter how good your intentions.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Members

If you have a website that features a blog or forum, it’s important that you watch what’s written. Many people don’t realize that what other people post on their site can affect the overall quality, not only for other readers but in terms of SEO as well! If many of your comments or replies are filled with gibberish or excessive linking, this can quickly catch the attention of search engines. If need be, require all comments, threads and replies to be approved by you or a moderator or add more people to your team who can quickly remove such content.

Don’t Scrap Your Hard Work

Being penalized can be frustrating and a time consuming situation to come out the other side of, but don’t trash your current site for a new one simply because Google wasn’t happy with something you’ve done. Having a website is a learning experience and you are bound to stumble here and there. Think of fixing the problem now as a long-term investment in the future of your online career. Be attentive of search engine rules and tips and we guarantee your site is going to end up much better than you’d ever anticipated. Change is a good thing in the online world – sometimes those changes just don’t happen according to our timeline.

Featured images:

This article has been written by Keith Terrell, who is the proud owner of Orp media in Australia. His company specializes in offering Google penalty removal and recovery services. You can find him winding up on a cup of coffee in his free time.

Member Spotlight – Mikaya

Today we are back for another segment of the Member Spotlight! I apologize as it has been a while since the first segment; hopefully we can keep these regular in the future! Anyway, today we are interviewing Mikaya. She has been a member of Forum Promotion for around five months and has already served on two separate staff teams, the Package Team and the Community Team. She is an Administrator at 3DS Pedia and a Community Team member on Forum Promotion. For the purpose of this interview, I will be known as “TF” and Mikaya will be known as “M.”

(After Pleasantries)

TF: So what keeps you coming back to Forum Promotion?

M: The wonderful and hardworking staff making Forum Promotion a better place for everyone! They do so much for the community and are great individuals who are always up for a laugh and are very easy to get along with!

TF: Good answer! Do you enjoy working on the staff?

M: Yes. I started off my staff venture being on the Package Team. It was a wonderful experience, and was never dull. I enjoyed every minute of it, and working with great team members made my experience worthwhile. Now transferred to the Community Team, I will try my best in this role! Apart from that, I have met some phenomenal staff members along the way and I’m honored to be apart of the staff. It’s a pleasure working with each and every one of you!

TF: Well you definitely make a great staff member, if I may say so myself! As a staff member, you get to see all parts of Forum Promotion; if you were able to change one thing about the forum, what would it be?

M: The old fashioned theme that has been there for quite some time. We need a more modern look to attract visitors and more importantly, the current members who visit on a daily basis. Let’s update our look and make a good impression to those who visit the community!

TF: I completely agree! Now let’s look away from Forum Promotion and more on to you and your administration! Tell us a little about 3DS Pedia.

M: It was founded on August 19th, 2013. It’s primarily based on the popular gaming company known as Nintendo, featuring discussions focused on the 3DS and Wii U, and many well-known titles for both consoles. There are also sections for general gaming, anime/manga to cater for those crazed anime fans, graphic design for those who are skilled and creative in the GFX arts, and of course general [discussion] for times when you want to take a break from gaming-related discussion.

TF: Even as a non-Nintendo fan, I’m pretty interested in your forum now! What’s your favorite part about 3DS Pedia that could attract more members?

M: There is always something to talk about whether it’s about gaming or general. The activity is decent, there is always at least a few or even several (during peak times only) members who are up for a friendly chat, and a good laugh, whether it’s about Pokemon X/Y or just some random subject.There are regular Pokemon tournaments that you can try your luck in. The most popular feature would be the Pokemon League, you can challenge gym leaders (members of the public) to earn badges that will appear in your posts. They will not go down without a fight, and are pretty tough. You will need luck and a solid strategy. One other unique feature would be the play coins system. Earn Play coins from Pokemon contests/challenges, raffles or even sell your spare Pokemon. You can also post quality threads and posts to earn pc. Once you have a substansial amount, you can then purchase eShop Credit (3DS/Wii U) to buy that game that you’ve meaning to buy for ages.

TF: That’s a pretty creative system. It almost makes me want to register to try it out, actually! Who came up with that system?

M: Marc, the owner. That’s pretty much the community in a nutshell. I wrote so much!

TF: It’s perfect! One last question, if you don’t mind. What has been your hardest challenge as an Administrator at 3DS Pedia?

M: Managing the community, as there is a lot of content (as in threads/posts/members) that need to be checked over. As more and more is  being submitted/added over time, the staff and I have to keep an eye on the forum and keep it clean from spam and any sort of offensive behavior. A tidy forum allows easy navigation by members, old and new alike. We also want to make a good impression to those who are yet to join the community. Since we are pretty active, and have time to moderate the community when required, so this doesn’t pose as a threat.

TF: It’s great to know you have the community under-wraps! Moderating is often a difficult and time consuming job on any forum. Thank you for your time, Mika!

M: My pleasure, happy to help! I enjoyed answering your questions, they were interesting!

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Mikaya and 3DS Pedia as much as I did. Have more questions for Mikaya? Ask them in the comments below and she’ll try to answer you as best as possible! Remember to check out 3DS Pedia!

Stay tuned for our next Member Spotlight soon!

Five Reasons Why You May be Losing Members

Getting people to join your forum and register can be one of the hardest things to do, while losing these new members is probably the easiest. There are many reasons a member might leave, but we’re just going to cover the basics.

Here you’ll find the most common reasons for someone leaving, and how to fix them!

Reason #1: Staff Stop Contributing

It’s pretty easy for a member to detect if an admin, or staff member is taking their forum seriously or not. I’ve left many forums just because the staff were showing no interest in contributing to the forum after a while. It’s not uncommon for a forum to go under in days just because the staff stopped contributing.

Fix: Post more often.

Now, you don’t have to post your ass off every day, but you need to contribute something each day. At least one staff member should make a few posts and to see if everything is running smoothing. Nothing is worse than seeing a staff member online not doing anything. So just try to pick up your activity a bit.


Reason #2: The rules are too strict

Rules, rules, and more rules.

Face it, people hate to be confined by rules. While rules are definitely necessary, I think many forums go a bit to far. For example, I know a few forums that don’t allow cursing, which doesn’t make sense since it’s such a normal thing.

If you’re an admin who has a full page of rules that you’re constantly enforcing, then that might be the reason you’re losing members.

Fix: Relax.

This internet is the craziest place to have ever existed. While you should keep your members feeling comfortable and safe. You don’t have to go warning everybody for cursing, and other random things.
Just relax, reduce the amount of rules you have and get your panties out of a bunch.


Reason #3: Nothing New

After a while things can begin to get boring. It’s pretty easy to get tired of looking at the same design everyday.

Fix: Mix things up

Every few months I feel it’s pretty important to work on creating a new feel on the board. Whether it be a new theme, a new logo, a new contest, or whatever changing new things can have its benefits. One of these benefits is keeping the members interested.


Reason #4: A bad experience with staff

It’s not uncommon for a member to leave a forum just from one bad experience they had with a staff member. I see members leaving forums all the time just because of “unfair” warnings and disputes with staff.

Fix: Talk to staff and the member

While we all would like to think that the people we chose to be staff are perfect, they’re not. Someone on your staff might be causing members to feel unfairly treated, and if they are, then they should immediately be removed from their position. Part of being staff is helping members feel comfortable and to have a good time.

At the same time, a member might have taken a warning, or response the wrong way. It’s quite hard to tell someones tone over the internet, so things can easily be confused. If you feel that the staff member was only doing their job, then talk to the member to try to clear things up. See how you can improve, and hear the members side of the story.


Reason #5: Sold Behind the Member’s Backs

You might have just bought the forum, and the members weren’t even aware the forum was for sale. If a member doesn’t know anything about the new admin, or just feels betrayed by the sale, then obviously they’re going to leave.

Many, many, many forums have died just from being sold incorrectly.

Fix: Keep members involved in the transfer

I think a lot of admins are scared of sharing details of a forum sale with their members, but it’s a normal thing for websites to be bought and sold. Members have dedicated their time toward your forum, so don’t stab them in the back by tossing them into new hands just for a wad of cash. Make the transaction of the forum as transparent as you can. The reason for the forum being sold, how much it was sold for, whom the new owner is, etc should be posted publicly for all members to see.

Also, once the new owner takes over I think the old owner should stick around for a few months as a friendly gesture to the community.


Conclusion
So those are the reasons why I think most members end up leaving a forum. Hopefully these fixes can help you get the members back, or prevent yourself from losing members in the future.

So what are some reasons that you have left your forum in the past?